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Articles By Author - Pete Mecca


Very Good or Very Dead

Flak blackens the sky; a kaleidoscope of anti-aircraft tracers swivel and coil around your aircraft, and you and your passengers are going down. A normal descent is 72 miles per hour, your landing speed 60 mph, at 49 mph your plane could stall, crash, and kill everyone aboard. Manufacturers with names like Ford Motor Company, Gibson Refrigerator, Ward Furniture, a piano manufacturer, Schlitz Brewing Company, a coffin company, and Anheuser-Busch built the aircraft in your 1,400 plane air armada. What could possibly go wrong?

February 22, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


There and back again

Doctor David Almand opened his medical practice in Conyers when we both were still relatively young. Goodness, how time flies when you're having fun. Albeit, only recently did I find out his father, Frank Almand, was a World War II veteran who served in Europe. This is Frank's story.

February 15, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


A 5-foot, 3-inch bundle of dynamite

She is nationally recognized among lawyers as 'the' veteran's pension expert, yet eldercare attorney Victoria Collier concentrates most of her attention on the older generation.

February 08, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Another soldier comes home

The Montford Point Marines were all black, separated from white Marines in basic training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. These 'men of color' served their country in time of war yet most American businesses would not serve them. German POWs incarcerated on American soil during WWII were often shepherded to local towns for an American meal in an American restaurant. Any black soldiers on the guard detail would have to wait outside the American restaurant while the enemy POWs ate American food. The wacky parody of that American reality is too deep to fathom.

February 01, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


The Fighting Cavanaugh Clan

This journalist is long overdue in expressing my appreciation to the staff and our two editors, Michelle Kim and Bryan Fazio, for their unwavering support of "A Veteran's Story." Likewise, the staunchest of unfaltering supporters is our publisher, Pat Cavanaugh. Pat has always been there for me, to encourage, to offer constructive criticism, to educate, to be a confidante, and occasionally suggest that perhaps I should be measured for a straight jacket along with recommendations for a padded cell.

January 24, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Did you ever kill anybody?

Harriman, TN - 1966: As one of the eager seniors attending Career Day at Harriman High School, Howard Hendrickson gave the Army recruiter an opportunity to bend his ear. Howard stated, "He kept talking about how bad basic training could be so I didn't even think about joining up." Tech School for data processing seemed the better alternative. "I had the training," he said. "But the albatross around my neck was a draft card with a 1A classification. There wasn't a job in East Tennessee to be had."

January 18, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Avoiding nuclear war through strength

Visualize growing up in Idaho to become a University of Idaho 'Vandal', then receiving a 2nd Lieutenant's commission from their Air Force ROTC program with high hopes of soaring even higher as a fighter pilot. Then imagine the disappointment when rejected for pilot training due to the damage you caused your own unprotected ears during repeated target practice with a pistol.

January 10, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


Targeting the Big Apple

According to legend, in the year 1307 the bailiff/agent of the Hapsburg Duke of Austria placed a Hapsburg hat on a pole in the town square of the small village of Altdorf, Switzerland. Once the hat was in position, he demanded anyone walking by to uncover their hats before it. As a local hunter/farmer and his son passed by, the older man refused to obey the decree.

January 04, 2015 | Pete Mecca | A VETERAN'S STORY


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Archive By Author - Pete Mecca


A Veteran's Story: Rockdale’s finest continue to serve

Cpl. Dexter Harris of the Rockdale Sheriff's Department joined the Army in 1987, just three weeks out of high school.

December 17, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


During World War II, Hollywood got serious

Many years ago, in a galaxy far, far away, a metropolis called Hollywood hunkered down to stand up and man-up for its native land. Instead of marketing political correctness, Hollywood's residents put their lives on the line for grassroots notions called individualism, capitalism and freedom. A port called Pearl Harbor transformed the make-believers into freedom-fighters.

December 10, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Pearl Harbor: Japan's biggest mistake

Hamilton Field near San Francisco on Dec. 6, 1941, at 0900: Thirteen B-17s take off at 15-minute intervals for a 15-hour flight to Pearl Harbor. The crossing was long and boring.

December 05, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Sheridan was an extraordinary American

The Greatest Generation lost another great member this week with the passing of Newborn's mayor, Roger Sheridan. He was my friend.

December 05, 2013 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


For some soldiers, the show must go on

Adopted at age 5 by a couple who owned a nursing home in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Wilsonia "Soni" Browne enjoyed entertaining and singing for the residents. Before her 12th birthday, the family moved to Miami, Fla.

December 03, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Thanksgiving has special meaning for veteran

We were on alert, the midnight sky charcoal black, odd noises coming from the distant jungle beyond the perimeter. My vision battled reality vs. apparitions in black pajamas. I was ready to kill, not so much an enemy, but the aggressive mosquitoes attempting to construct a housing project inside my left ear. I dared not slap or even curse my ear tenants for fear of exposing my so-called fighting position.

November 26, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Military career was great ‘springboard’

Confident in dialogue and conduct, James Johnson Jr. echoes his 22-year career in the United States Army.

November 19, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


'Brotherhood of war' binds WWII veterans

I recently attended a monthly luncheon sponsored by the Atlanta World War II Round Table at Petite Au Berge Restaurant. About 150 folks were in attendance, mostly World War II veterans and their spouses. It was an honor to break bread with these men and women.

November 12, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Veterans Day: a tribute well-deserved

During his 1865 inaugural address, President Abraham Lincoln memorably appealed for good treatment of veterans: "to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan."

November 09, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Triple amputee lives a life of service

He is probably the most recognized veteran in the state of Georgia. His accomplishments and awards would fill a newspaper. One hundred or more hours is a typical workweek.

November 05, 2013 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


Vietnam vet tells a gripping story

As I reviewed Covington native Jimmy Cronan's personal Vietnam War journal, I realized the best way to articulate his story was to let Jimmy tell his story of war and survival, as it happened, in his own words. The following is an edited, abbreviated narrative of his combat diary.

October 29, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Proud member of the ‘Old Guard’

Oct. 24, 1921: In the city hall of Chalons-en-Champagne, France, U.S. Army Sgt. Edward F. Younger, a highly decorated veteran of The Great War (World War I), is assigned to select only one of four caskets recently exhumed from four dissimilar American cemeteries in France. Each casket contains the unidentified remains of an American soldier. After thoughtful consideration, Sgt. Younger places a spray of white roses on one of the caskets.

October 22, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


A Veteran's Story: James Hutchins

Courage and coordination are just two of many qualifying attributes for commanding a World War II B-17 Flying Fortress and B-25 Mitchell. To reach that level requires successful training in flimsy Piper Cubs, PT-17 Stearmans, and shake-your-teeth-out Vultee BT-13s.

October 15, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


Despite war injuries, vet pressed on

On a date and time lost to history, the Viet Cong found and excavated an unexploded American bomb. A demolition team rigged the weapon as a land mine and buried the device under a drain culvert along a road in Binh Dinh Province near the coastal village of Song Bon.

October 08, 2013 | Pete Mecca | LOCAL


It’s the veterans who are ‘honorable’

The World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., was barricaded following the government shutdown, yet veterans of the Greatest Generation have ignored the law by breaking down fortifications and forcing entry into the Memorial.

October 08, 2013 | Pete Mecca | Columnists


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